Entrepreneurship in Academic Curriculum 24 April, 2013
Mr. Sundar Vaidyanathan, Co - Founder and Managing Partner, Karsun Solutions LLC led the Weekly Discussion on 24th April 2013 with his talk on “Entrepreneurship in Academic Curriculum”.
The talk mainly consisted of tweaks the academic curriculum to cover entrepreneurship.
Karsun Solutions LLC was founded in Virginia, U.S. in2010 and is now a 45 member team with over $10 Million in sales. They focus on Optimising process, Modernising IT, Facilitating Change.
Who is an Entrepreneur?
An Entrepreneur is one who can create value using a product or service by speeding up process and hence bringing about time reduction, reduce cost or improve quality of a process. This ideally results in job creation and wealth creation. A great example of entrepreneurship is the founding of Google in 1998. Search got faster, cheaper and of great quality post 1998. However, financial gain is not really the motive for entrepreneurship. People don’t really start companies to make a lot of money.
There are mainly four triggers for entrepreneurship.
Academic Interest and Professional Experience is usually a prerequisite for any entrepreneurial activity. This is where you gain knowledge and insights about a particular industry where you want to start up.
Drive is the internal force for success and achievement.
A lot of people with competency do not have drive and vice versa and so they lose out on the entrepreneurial bandwagon.
A lot of factors such as Government, Society and Peers influence your decision to become an entrepreneur.
Availability of capital is also a great trigger for entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship usually starts with opportunity. People should be prepared to seize the opportunity which may present itself as an idea during academics or while working in an industry. There should be a certain market size for the idea to materialise.
Entrepreneurs rarely move alone. Usually there would be a team of about 2 to 3 motivated individuals inspired by the idea who go about setting up the firm.
Once the opportunity is sighted and the team is put together, you would need resources in the form of funding, tools and manpower to materialise the idea.
Knowledge, skills and experience
The core technical knowledge required to set up needs to be associated with the following skills for success in entrepreneurship.
These skills include Influencing, Negotiations, Communication, Team Work, Conflict Management etc.
Skills such as Product or Service Positioning, Pricing, Branding, Segmentation, Networking, Partnerships etc. are vital to an entrepreneur.
Talent in Business Relationships, Leads, Opportunities, Teaming, Proposal Capture, Delivery Support and Follow - on Sales is mandatory for an entrepreneur.
An entrepreneur needs to be adept with Accounting, Invoicing, Collection, Payroll, Taxes and Budgeting.
Areas like Talent Acquisition, People Development, Salary and Bonus, Infrastructure and Project Management will come up in the Entrepreneurial Journey.
Non Disclosure, Intellectual Property, Contract Management, Employee Agreements and Teaming Agreements are vital in setting up companies.
Current State of the Curriculum
In the entrepreneurial context, the curriculum needs to be tweaked with respect to Syllabus, Teaching Quality, Learning Assessment and Extra Curricular activities.
What is the core objective of the program? Is it to get a job or to create jobs?
Are the concepts introduced purely analytical in nature or is there a creative aspect to it as well?
Is the Projects Individual in nature or Team Oriented?
Is the Content Input purely academic or is there Industry Subject Matter Experts involved?
Is the Teaching Approach Text book based or is there a case study approach involved as well?
Is the Skills Emphasis entirely Technical or are there Non Technical aspects as mentioned above as well?
Is the Industry Involvement Employment based or Entrepreneurial in nature?
Is the Learning Mode Theory heavy or are there Hands-on approaches as well. Hands on sessions do not necessarily imply Lab sessions alone.
Is the Learning Emphasis based on Memorisation or Understanding?
Are the Problems given during the academic session well defined, which can be solved using application of formulae or are there open ended real life problems as well. Open Ended problems do not necessarily have right or wrong answers.
Is the Feedback Technical only or is there Non-Technical feedback as well?
Is Evaluation Individual or Teamwork based?
Students learn a lot from extracurricular work such as Community Work, University Events, Clubs and Sports.